As a medical practitioner, I am concerned with making sure that the public are receiving correct and sufficient information in making decisions pertaining to their health. Recently, there is great level of interest on the height increasing vitamin mainly due to it is being endorsed by our beautiful celebrity none other than Neelofa.
Malaysians have always love their celebrities however, there are certain things that are best left to experts. Referring to controversies surrounding her endorsements on the height increasing vitamin, I feel obliged to provide some explanations relating to this product in an attempt to fix misconceptions by some.
To help public develop better understanding, I approach the issue using two important questions.
First, can this supplement increase height of a person?
To answer this, we need to understand the basic process of bone growth first. According to Guyton & Hall (2016), there are two principal mechanisms of bone growth, the increment of the bone density (thickness), which resulted in stronger bone over time, and the elongation of the long bone (of arms and legs), which contribute to height of a person.
The strong and dense bones resulted from continuous deposition of calcium influenced by the growth hormone and happen throughout most of the life span. When people get older especially for women post-menopausal period, the process of calcium extraction from the bone becoming more dominant as compared to calcium deposition thus resulted in brittle bone or osteoporosis.
The long bone elongates at the ‘growth plate’ or what we called epiphyseal cartilages. These cartilages located at each ends of the long bones. The growth hormone secreted by the body during the childhood and adolescent period stimulate the shaft elongation and at the same time used up these cartilages. By late adolescent, the epiphyseal cartilages fused permanently with the shaft, so no further elongation can occur.
Now, answering the question, most clinicians agree that further increase in height is not physiologically possible after this bony fusion occur.
Simply put, once humans hit the end of late adolescence period, the more likely development you might occur is sideways than upward.
Second, can this supplement be taken by any age?
There are two segmental issues to this question. First, whether this supplement is safe for any age? Second, whether this supplement is effective for all ages?
The ingredients listed for this height increasing vitamin are what we called a micronutrient. It means that it is required in a small amount for healthy living. A normal healthy diet should ensure you getting enough of this micronutrient.
Having too much of these substances can cause a health problem too. For that, I do not recommend this to be taken by anyone with weight less than 50 kilograms unless consulted first with medical practitioners.
The instruction from the height vitamin’s bottle also stated “it is quite effective for people in the age group of 10 to 25 years”. As mentioned above, this is the age group that the bone elongation still occurs. If you in this age group (especially if you are at the younger end), you will still physiologically able to gain height even without taking this supplement.
Taking the last argument into consideration, you can expect to develop rather a healthy growth rate as long as you maintain a good and healthy diet.
With the above explanation, I hope to shed some lights into physiology of human growth and reduce misunderstanding by some on the extent of usefulness and effectiveness of this height increasing vitamin.
Hall, J. (2012). Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology (12th ed.). London: Elsevier Health Sciences.s